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Showing posts from September, 2023

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Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park infographics: what's built/what's coming/what's missing, who's responsible, + project FAQ/timeline (pinned post)

"City of Yes" proposals for 100K new homes include density bonus for below-market units, but affordability level unclear. Info session tomorrow.

Mayor Adams Launches Historic Effort to Build "A Little More Housing in Every Neighborhood,"  the city announced 9/21/23. Translation: a potential 100,000 more homes over 15 years, or 6,667 a year. The  “City of Yes for Housing Opportunity” proposal  is part of Adams’ “moonshot” goal of delivering 500,000 new homes to New Yorkers over the next decade, given that population and jobs exceeds the supply of residences. The top feature is "Ending Parking Mandates for New Housing," which drives up costs--and helps explain why applicants for spot rezonings propose eliminating a parking requirement. But that proposal may face challenge in certain neighborhoods less connected to public transit. New affordability More crucial for those watching development in the area around Atlantic Yards is the "Universal Affordability Preference," which is a 20% density bonus for all affordable housing--including additions to existing buildings but most likely for new constructi

If local journalism will be bolstered via payroll tax credits, under consideration in Congress, shouldn't hiring journalists be incentivized over retaining them?

Yesterday I noted some of the debate about financing local journalism. A 6/27/23 Nieman Lab article, If the U.S. wants to boost journalism, it should learn from Canada’s mistakes , analyzes a report from the University of North Carolina’s Center on Technology Policy on Canada's tax credits for news publishers and individuals. From Sarah Scire's article: “At the federal level, lawmakers have framed news tax credits as key to protecting democracy through a healthy press,” the report notes. “This is a worthy goal, but given widespread partisan mistrust of the press it is unlikely to be broadly appealing across party lines. A potentially stronger framing would be to cast the credits as a benefit for small business owners and the broader community.” Indeed, that seems to be the framing of the current bill in Congress. I'll note a couple of recommendations in the report: Impose transparency measures to allow for public accountability.  That seems a no-brainer. Who's getting

Is the "Local-News Crisis... Weirdly Easy to Solve"? Maybe not, but if public or philanthropic funding comes though, the public ultimately could save.

I wrote the other day about the loss of the publication Gotham Gazette and yesterday I published  a long article on the 962 Pacific rezoning vote at the Sept. 14 Community Board 8 meeting. What do those two things have in common? Well, had there been any other journalist at the meeting--or even a secondhand report based on a press release--I would've published something sooner.  But I was waiting to clarify a few things--like how did a Land Use Committee resolution (which I had on tape) change by the time it got to the applicant? Answer: a typo--though whose typo remains unclear. Had another news outlet published an article, I would've published something sooner, then returned for a follow up. But there's so little budget for journalism that no oiher reporter was there--not even a student reporter covering things for school credit. Fixing things? So, I wonder, is The Local-News Crisis Is Weirdly Easy to Solve , as journalsm guru Steven Waldman contended in The Atlantic 8/8

Applicant for 962 Pacific spot rezoning proposes 27 deeply affordable units, not the requested 30, but gets Community Board 8 support. What will CM Hudson do?

After a convoluted process that required two votes, Brooklyn Community Board 8 on Sept. 14 endorsed the spot rezoning of the proposed 962 Pacific Street at a somewhat revised configuration from the Land Use Committee's  request  a week earlier. That means a promise of 27 deeply affordable apartments rather than the requested 30—but more than the 15 that applicant HSN Realty had earlier offered at the Crown Heights site, just east of Grand Avenue, under the city's Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program.  The 27 units at 40% of Area Median Income (AMI) would rent, under current  limits  (which will rise), as follows: $848 for a studio, $1,059 for a one-bedroom, and $1,271 for a two-betroom.  It was a not insubstantial gain for those seeking deeper affordable housing and homes for those at risk of displacement, while a once majority-Black area has become whiter and wealthier.  Ultimately, it was also a victory for both HSN—there’s often slack in an applicant’s request--and some CB

With Gotham Gazette shuttered (for now?), another deficit in New York journalism. One example: too little coverage of "Open ESD" report.

It's a sign, perhaps, of the paucity of journalism in New York City that the recent news that Citizens Union would shut down the valuable online publication Gotham Gazette (1999-2023) did not , as far as I can tell, make it beyond Twitter. Citizens Union announces that it is "temporarily" shutting down @GothamGazette — David Freedlander (@freedlander) June 26, 2023 But the frustrated response--"disastrous decision," "sad news, etc."--to David Freedlander's tweet, especially from journalists and those in politics/government, indicates that Gotham Gazette would be missed.  After all, a nonprofit site devoted to "policy and politics" has an enormous range to cover, much of which may not generate huge advertising but deserves support. Can we blame Citizens Union for, as it stated , not beong "immune to the challenges facing nonprofit media outlets, particularly the costs"? Not completely, of course, b

Given weather, Steve Reich "new music" concert moved just inside the Barclays Center doors, meets enthusiastic crowd (+ "Social Justice" doubts).

The bad weather yesterday afternoon might have been good news for the scheduled free "Counterpoint: Steve Reich" new music concert , scheduled for Barclays Center's Ticketmaster Plaza and sponsored by the Social Justice Fund of the Joe and Clara Tsai Foundation, operated by the couple that owns the Brooklyn Nets, New York Liberty, and the arena operating company. Anthony McGill greeting the crowd before the 11-clarinet version of "New York Counterpoint" (Photos/Norman Oder) Instead of having the metronomic, minimalist compositions on the plaza, competing with traffic along Flatbush and Atlantic avenues and other street noise, the concert was moved just into the arena lobby. While that likely stymied some passers-by who might have discovered it, enough passionate fans of Reich had gotten the word, and many of perhaps 200 seats were filled, with numerous standees. And they enjoyed it enthusiastically, so far as I could tell.  I only stayed for the first of the thr

City & State's Brooklyn Power 100 list downgraded Joe & Clara Wu Tsai (Nets/Liberty/arena/Social Justice Fund) to #42, but their clout is increasing.

City & State NY on 7/31/23 announced the 2023 Brooklyn Power 100 . Among the obvious suspects, leading off the list are politicos like Eric Adams, Chuck Schumer, Hakeem Jeffries, and Letitia James, plus advisors/lobbyists like former mayoral Chief of Staff Frank Carone (#20), Adams campaign chief Evan Thies (#29). Among the real-estate entrepreneurs are Jed Walentas, CEO of Two Trees (#18) and Doug Steiner, Chair of Steiner Studios (#38). You might wonder exactly why five members of the publication's Advisory Board  (which helps advise on such lists) make this list, four of them lobbyists. After all, are these rankings are arbitrary--are lobbyists more powerful than, say, some  low-profile Hasidic developers , for example? About the Tsais I'm not sure if it makes sense to nudge the power couple Joe and Clara Wu Tsai to #42, from #33 in 2022. The squib inadequately described them as "Co-Owners, Brooklyn Nets," since they also own the New York Liberty and Barclays C

As "affordable" project in Greenpoint offers six-figure earners a free month, plus a $1,000 rebate. Another reason why some call the nomenclature "nonsensical."

A recent advertisment from New York YIMBY claimed an "Amazing Affordable Opportunity Available" at 75 McGuinness Boulevard in Greenpoint, between Nassau and Norman avenues. Not only are the "Brand new 1BR and 2BR rent-stabilized apartments offering rents below market rate," the developers are offering bonuses of one-month free on a lease, plus a $1,000 bonus. The application deadline is tomorrow. (The location, by the way, is on a boulevard busy with traffic, albeit near very walkable blocks.) While the advertisement notes the income targets--middle-income households earning $107,178 to $198,215, depending on family size, it omits the rents sought: $3,126 for one-bedroom apartments and $3,733 two-bedroom units. "Affordable" ceilings That, amazingly enough, is below the potential maximum rent levels for households earning 130% of Area Median Income (AMI): $3,443 and $4,130, according to the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development,

From the latest (non-) Construction Update: again, no new work, just continued open space work at 595 Dean

The latest Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Construction Update (bottom), covering the two weeks beginning  Monday, Sept. 18, was circulated yesterday at 10:22 am (lead time) by email by Empire State Development (ESD), the state authority that oversees/shepherds the project. As with the Update two weeks ago ., there's no major construction activity, but, again, at the B12/B13 towers (595 Dean), "East Courtyard Work remains to be completed pending final delivery of materials."  Indeed, the open space isn't yet done, though the buildings have been open for months--albeit not for the  "affordable" units . Baseline competency The document notes that weekday work hours are 7 am-6 pm and adds "Saturday work is not currently scheduled during this reporting period." That clarification is a reminder that, for many months, the Updates had misleadingly suggested after-hours work might continuen and also suggested that platform work might start. I'd note that E

New York Liberty pursuing WNBA title after strong season with revamped team, new buzz, and big attendance boost at Barclays

Things are looking up for the WNBA's New York Liberty, who start their first-round playoff series against the Washington Mystics tonight. After managers and owners assembled a superteam of stars, the Liberty won the Eastern Conference  with a 32-8 record, second-best in the league behind the Western Conference's Las Vegas Aces, at 34-6. Clockwise from top left: Breanna Stewart, Jonquel Jones,  Sabrina Ionesco, Betnijah Laney, Courtney Vandersloot,  After a pre-season loss to the defending champion Aces, the Liberty went on to win two of their four regular-season game, plus the their matchup in the WNBA's Commissioner's Cup . Attendance boost Over 20 games, the Liberty--which sell only the lower bowl of the Barclays Center--averaged 7,777 attendance , fifth in the league, a huge jump from the 2022 average of 5,327 , in 18 games and the new-in-town 2021 average of 1,757 . Forward Breanna Stewart, part of a new superteam , this week was  named  AP Player of the Year, and t

At Community Board 8 meeting tonight, a crowded agenda includes the spot rezoning proposal for 962 Pacific Street, with many question marks

The agenda for tonight's Brooklyn Community Board 8 General Meeting , held at Chelsea Piers Field House at 601 Dean Street (within the two-tower complex known as 595 Dean, the most recent buildings to rise in Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park), is fairly extensive. The board will hear an update from the Department of Sanitation on curbside composting, will hear reports from eight committees, and will welcome testimony, at two minutes maximum, regarding CB 8's recommendation to City Hall regarding the city's Capital and Expense Budget Fiscal Year 2025. That's on top of the roll call (and acceptance of minutes), general public comments, as well as new business. The board will address items from four subcommittees. Those include seven new liquor license applications and one renewal; two street co-namings; and one application for a cannabis retail dispensary from Two Oaks almost across the street, at 606 Dean Street. That's a lot to cover in the scheduled 6:30 - 9 pm session.